Representation of women in the construction industry has been a topic of discussion over the past several decades with more and more female construction workers opening up about being hired in traditionally male-dominated positions. Female construction workers currently make up around ten percent of all construction jobs, hovering around one million women in the industry collectively. And while this is a great improvement from as little as five years ago, many of these jobs held by female construction workers include managerial and office related roles. So, while we celebrate the women who have achieved leadership roles within the industry, it’s time to also focus efforts on employing more female construction workers in on-site positions that are currently underrepresented.
Here’s a list of common construction-related jobs that employ a low percentage of female construction workers within the industry today.
According to numbers from late 2020, female construction workers only made up around 0.5% of the entire roofing industry in the United States. There are several groups that are dedicated to seeing this number continue to grow, including the National Women in Roofing, founded in 2016 out of the International Roofing Expo. Through outreach and education, NWIR acts as an advocate to help construction businesses and roofing companies understand the importance of diversity within their hires.
Female construction workers in the welding workforce only saw a 1% increase in representation between 2010 and 2018, according to statistics referenced by Forbes.com. However, outreach programs such as Weld Like A Girl™ and Women Who Weld are working to see a larger increase of representation over the next several years. These groups are designed to appeal to young women discovering their passions, hoping to inspire the next generation of female construction workers and welders. And while there are other important organizations that fight for female welders to receive fair wages as compared to their male counterparts, these groups uniquely work towards building more awareness about the opportunities for female construction workers in the welding industry.
One sector of the construction industry that is still seeing a struggle in the recruitment of female construction workers is in masonry. According to data from the online publication Concrete Construction, there are only around 180,000 female masonry workers across the United States. And although that number is small, it’s a large increase from thirty years ago when only approximately 2,000 women were employed in a masonry-related job. The publication also suggests that a lack of exposure to the craft may be one of the biggest reasons that there aren’t more female construction workers in masonry jobs, encouraging groups like Girl Scouts of America to take troops to visit job sites and learn more about the industry.
A staple of construction-related equipment, cranes are used for the most heavy-duty projects in the industry. But as common as cranes are on construction sites, seeing a woman operating one isn’t. As little as 0.7% of tower crane operators and 5.4% of steel crane operators are female construction workers. There are several prominent female crane operators in the industry today, however. One crane operator, Jen Mutas of Bigfoot Crane Company, recently recognized the positive shift towards fair representation in the industry, stating, “We shouldn’t say, “Oh, she’s really good for a girl,” we should be saying, “she’s really good,” period. And we’re getting closer to that.”
The National Association of Women in Construction now has over 117 local chapters across the United States, which makes it very easy for female builders to connect with our network of professionals. Membership is open to all construction women and NAWIC is able to provide members with amazing resources to help them gain confidence in their abilities and develop more leadership skills. Any female builders interested in becoming a NAWIC member can apply for membership by using either the online form or downloadable application to fill out and mail in – both of which are available on the NAWIC website. There are also several membership options available with flexible pricing and membership terms. To learn more about the female builders and powerful construction women involved in NAWIC or if you have any questions about membership, contact us through our social media pages.